At least 200 (but maybe up to 300) melon-head dolphins (Peponocephala electra), also known as melon-headed whale, many-toothed blackfish and electra dolphin) flocked to shallow waters of Manila Bay, prompting a massive rescue by hundreds of volunteers and fishermen who used their boats and hands to drive them back to deep seas. There are two possible causes according to the scientists: a sea quake that could have damaged the dolphins' eardrums and disoriented them, or the pod could have been following a sick or injured leader. Fishermen and villagers trooped to the beach and waded into the chest-deep water, clapping their hands and hitting the surface to drive the dolphins away. More than 20 boats with their engines shut guided the animals to the open sea. Three dead dolphins were found beached farther up north in Abucay township include two adult females, one of which was pregnant, and an infant male. The two adults had damaged eardrums. Another beached dolphin was rescued.
Dolphins with injured eardrums become disoriented, cannot dive for food and are too weak to swim and just flow with the current. If it's a sick leader, the animal needs to be identified and taken out of sight of the rest of the pod so the healthy dolphins could be prodded back to sea. Fisheries officials were coordinating with private groups and fishermen to stop the dolphins from being beached and prevent more deaths. Wardens were positioned around the area and fishermen warned not to harm the dolphins. Melon-head dolphins are considered threatened species.